One thing to consider is that some retailers will try to sell you only their top-of-the-line product – ones suitable for military use.
Keep in mind that troops would be exposed to much higher concentrations of chemical or biological agents and need only the strongest line of defense. This would be highly unlikely for the population at large.
AVOID inferior products like the Russian M-10, M-41, SMS and GP-5 masks and the East German masks. Other products to steer clear of are the French/Belgian ANP M51 and Hungarian civilian respirator.
Make sure your filter is for NBC protection! They are made to protect you from all known biological agents in addition to chemicals like sarin and other nerve gases, mustard gas, cyanogen, arsine, phosgene plus many organic and inorganic gases/vapors and inorganic acids.
Proper fitting masks are vital. For example, you can’t successfully put an adult mask on a youth and expect it to do the job. Generally youth masks are for children ages 2-12, but correct fit depends on the size of the child.
Here are some tips from the document below:
- Make sure the mask and filter are not damaged in any way. If they are, don’t buy them.
- Nice features to consider: anti-fogging nose cup and drinking capabilities.
- Some units with positive airflow require a Lithium battery to operate. Spare batteries would be clever.
- Many face masks aren’t made to accommodate eyeglasses. Some manufacturers offer a prescription spectacle kit for glasses that won’t fit between the face and the face shield.
- Don’t loan out your respirator. Doing so spreads germs. Speaking of those pesky things, be sure to disinfect your the mask’s interior surface.
- Last, keep your mask handy but away from moisture.